Your bounce rate is a statistic related to how your visitors behave on your website. The short version is that a “bounce” occurs when a user leaves your site after a single-page session; in other words, it’s a lost opportunity. Learning how to analyze your bounce rate, and more importantly, how to reduce your bounce rate, is vital if you want your blog to be successful.
Google Analytics, Bounce Rate, and Exit Rate
Let’s start with where you can find your site’s bounce rate. While there are several third-party tools that may be able to help you here, we recommend using Google Analytics, which is free and available to practically any website. With it, you’ll be able to find the bounce rate for your site, as well as all your individual pages. You’ll also find your exit rate, which is a similar, but distinct metric.
Google explains it like this: your exit rate is the percentage of all pageviews to a given page that were the last in the session. Your bounce rate is the percentage of all sessions that start with a given page that ended with the page being the only one in the session. In other words, to qualify as a bounce, a user must land on this page and leave without exploring your site further. To qualify for your exit rate, the departure could be the last of a long sequence of engagements.
Why Bounce Rate Is So Important
Your bounce rate is an indication of lack of interest (in many cases). In some cases, it’s due to a person finding the answer they need and leaving once they obtain it (which isn’t necessarily bad). In other cases, it’s due to your site not being intriguing enough to hold their attention.
The higher your bounce rate is, the less valuable your inbound traffic is going to be, since those visitors will have less time to interact with your other content. There’s also evidence to suggest that the higher your bounce rate is, the worse your performance in search engine rankings will be.
How to Reduce Your Bounce Rate
Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you can use to reduce your bounce rate:
- Make your website easy to visit and explore. This is a major strategy that involves many sub-strategies. For example, you’ll want to start by making sure your page loading speed is as fast as possible; if the page takes too long to fully load, some visitors may bail before they even get a chance to see your content. You can do this by reducing your file sizes, using compression where you can, relying on a caching plugin, and deleting any unnecessary plugins, add-ons, and content. Then, you’ll want to optimize your site for mobile devices; even if your visitors aren’t predominantly mobile users, mobile optimization presents a clean, navigable interface. Small design tweaks can also make your site easier to explore.
- Interlink your pages. Make sure each page of your site contains links to multiple other pages of your site in contextually relevant, interesting ways. For example, in a blog post on how to restring a guitar, you might reference an article you wrote on how to choose the best strings for your guitar, or vice versa, for further reading. Users may not initiate the exploration of your site on their own; sometimes, they need an additional prompt, and these links do the job well.
- Analyze your lowest-bouncing content and learn from it. Look at all your blog articles and your most frequent landing pages. Which among these have the lowest bounce rates? These are your best-performing pieces of content in terms of encouraging further exploration of your site. What features do they have in common? Do they have strong internal links? Do they cover a specific topic? Learn from these features, and try to replicate and improve upon them.
- Adjust your inbound traffic sources. You’ll naturally have a high bounce rate if you’re attracting people to your site who aren’t interested in your content. Spend some time defining and learning more about your target audience; you may find that your current inbound marketing methods are bringing in the wrong people.
Experimentation and Analysis
It’s not always guaranteed that your efforts to reduce your bounce rate will actually reduce your bounce rate. Instead, it’s on you to experiment with different approaches, then monitor how those changes affect your bounce rate over time. In other words, you’ll need to try a wide variety of tweaks and improvements, and measure how your bounce rate changes over the coming weeks and months. It’s an effort-intensive process, but the end result—with more traffic engaging with your content—is worth it.